TAGAYTAY City mayor Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino was elected PhilCycling president in a Philippine Olympic Committee-supervised poll on Tuesday, ending a four-year turf war between two groups claiming to be the rightful cycling body in the country.
Tolentino was given a fresh four-year mandate by a 15-man PhilCycling board at Esplanade in Pasay City. In 2008, Tolentino was voted president of PhilCycling but breakaway group Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines led by Rolando Hiso contested the elections. Hiso was eventually replaced by businessman Mikee Romero as ICFP head but the Union Cycliste Internationale continued to recognize Tolentino’s group.
The leadership issue caused Filipino riders to miss out on the 2009 Southeast Asian Games in Laos.
Even though the country finally fielded a “unified team” in the 2010 Asian Games and last year's SEA Games in Indonesia before another election installed former Philippine Sports Commission chairman Philip Ella Juico as cycling president, the leadership issue remained unresolved until Tuesday.
“This is a great starting point for PhilCycling,” said Tolentino. “Ibabangon uli natin ang PhilCycling.”
“With regards to this election, we must forgive and forget. We have to move on as one,” Tolentino added.
Juico was elected vice-president by the board of the unified group with POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco presiding over the oath-taking ceremony. The event was attended by representatives of 136 cycling clubs.
“The two groups gave up a lot of things to unify cycling,” Cojuangco said. “Sayang kasi, cycling has a real good potential.”
Former PhilCycling president Bert Lina was also elected chairman of the board along with Oscar Rodriguez (treasurer) and Jesus Aranas (auditor). Board members include former Commission of Elections commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal, Cornelio Baylon, Froilan Dayco, Ricardo Rodriguez, Pablito Sual, Paquito Rivas, Modesto Bonzo, Juancho Ramores, Lorenzo Lomibao Jr. and Carlos Gredonia.
Seven board members each from PhilCycling and ICFP were nominated to the board with Lina as the 15th member in the polls witnessed by Asian Cycling Confederation secretary general Choi Boo Woong.
Tolentino said that the first order of business for the unified PhilCycling is to review the list of members.
“Kailangan naming maayos ’yung list of membership. We have to stick with members by region,” said Tolentino.